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Prepared for the September 5, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

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Between the Lines

We like to think of Labor Day as a second chance at New

Year’s. All those resolutions made eight months before and forgotten

seven months ago can be dusted off and re-examined.

And with less than four months to go to the end of the year, a few —

usually very few — of the old resolutions may deserve a half-hearted

revival with far more realistic expectations. We won’t actually lose

any weight in the remainder of the year, but we will are resolved

not to gain any.

On the business side we won’t turn the world upside down, but we will

at least regroup after the summer of vacations and crazy schedules and

get things back to normal. We look through the calendar of

business meetings beginning on page 14 of this issue, and we decide —

not actually resolve — to actually attend a meeting or two. It’s fall

and time to gather nuts for the winter.

Here at U.S. 1 our Labor Day regrouping includes at least one thing we

won’t do anymore. (That’s a safe bet, obviously, given that we are not

talking about smoking or drinking or eating.) And it’s an even safer

bet given that we have already effected the change and now need only

to announce it. So here goes: U.S. 1 is no longer printing the much

loved but not always understood voice-mail singles listings.

That’s right. We are cleaning house and that $1.98-a-minute service

that promised to link you up via voice mail with the man or woman or

— yes — couple of your dreams is no longer a part of our editorial

offerings. Like a lot of these Labor Day housekeeping decisions, it

wasn’t terribly hard to make.

On the one hand we used to get a little amusement from some of the

printed invitations designed to lure you into that $1.98 a minute

900-number phone call. You could leave a voice-mail message for the

SWM, 37, with "old-fashioned values, mature, decent looks, hardworker,

loving, honest, faithful with old fashioned values, not afraid of the

word love." Or you could respond to the voice mail box of a guy named

Dave, whose ad appeared a few listings away: "Dave is a married WM,

6-feet-1, 185 pounds, medium build, seeking female for sex."

On the other hand we also had to endure the phone calls to our office,

usually coming after hours or on weekends. "Your phone number doesn’t

work," some of the callers would sadly report. After some gentle

interrogatories, we would discover that they had 900-number blocking

on their phone line, or they were calling from a hotel room, or from a

pay phone.

Others woeful callers reported that they had successfully made the

phone call but then couldn’t navigate the voice mail system to reach

the mailbox of their intended, and possibly beloved. "No head games"

was a frequent request of many of the participants, but —

unfortunately — you had to use your head a little to use this system.

So now the Singles by Phone service is gone. Remaining, however, is

the old-fashioned singles by mail — you can run your ad for free and

people can respond for just $1. See page 47 of this issue for all the

details. And maybe this is the time to reconsider your personal life

— not revamp it, not throw anybody overboard and start all over

again. Remember, it’s only Labor Day. Not New Year’s.

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